Little Italy Stories

Iggy did it...

Europe remasters "The Final Countdown," starts the hard-rock clock all over again

Two years ago it may have seemed that Europe, the metal band that gave the world “The Final Countdown,” was down for the count. But a Geico car insurance ad has changed things in ways ...

Respect the donut maker!

Devil’s Dozen Donut Shop

It’s easy to mock the emergence of the hipster donut shop. Donuts seem easy to make: raise some dough, deep fry, and sweeten it with glaze. Adding breakfast cereal, fruit slices, cured meats, or some ...

Entrada makes an entrance

New Little Italy taquería gets by on good looks

The first things I noticed when I walked into Entrada weren’t the Muertos murals, sea-tortoise-green booths, or Talavera tile patterns adorning the north wall. It was the pair of 18-foot faux olive trees bracketing the ...

The $11 cup of coffee

Bird Rock gets Geisha

I’ve had good reason to visit Little Italy lately, with Beer Week events at Bottlecraft and the opening of Juniper and Ivy’s casual spinoff The Crack Shack. But most surprising turned out to be a ...

Scott Weiland of old winds up the Music Box

The Wildabouts frontman conjures Stone Temple Pilots...and Bowie

Scott Weiland was on fire tonight! His performance at the Music Box was energetic and loud. Yes, Scott Weiland has issues. Yes, Scott Weiland has bad shows, and yes, he has had bad luck in ...

Polite as F**k

Mayor's friends on both sides of escalating Little Italy eatery war

A battle over the fate of a new restaurant and night spot for Little Italy has taken a controversial new turn as two top friends and associates of Kevin Faulconer have been drawn into a ...

Good for the gander?

This time the shoes are on the feet of Michael Hansen

Even a staffer for Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, uber-champion of the big-money real estate industry, can turn out to be a NIMBY, the acronym for “not in my backyard” used derisively by the mayor’s wealthy ...

Trolley Dances brings site-specific dance from Waterfront to Balboa

More walking than riding, but the annual event is still worth it

After many years of ogling cool images of dancers performing in unexpected locations, and even spreading the word both in this magazine and on the radio, I finally got the chance to experience the San ...

Get thrown a bone and ball at Po Pazzo

No time to dither if you are going to snatch that happy hour sugo deal

“This rib of yours is the bone they cut the ribeye steak out of.”

Go-slow dough: Secret weapon?

Napizza’s yeast lives longer

One thing I like about Napizza is that they were serious about going green from the get-go. They claim to be the first pizzeria in San Diego certified by the Green Restaurant Association. They try ...

Wine, nuts, and ghosts in Little Italy

Snacks and vasos de vino at M Winehouse

Wine. Because no great story starts with a salad. This is what stops me. It’s a sign scrawled on a chalkboard outside a beautiful old Victorian cottage, huddling between three concrete buildings. It makes you ...

In the land of tango and empanadas

Chomp 'n' charge in the pampas, or Little Italy

"I tell you,” says Patrick Brown, “San Diego has the most competitive happy hour on the whole coast. And I’ve researched happy hours from Seattle to San Francisco to L.A. We have the best.” I’m ...

Feast! Little Italy-Old Town

Middletown's best restaurants

These days Little Italy offers some of the best food in town, or at least the most photographed. The neighborhood keeps serving up hits, almost eclipsing the tried-and-true eateries that sit between its shiny new ...

A juice smoothie takes on pizza

Thick nutrient sludge at Juice Crafters

I’ve been running into a lot of cold-press juice places lately, which can be tough on the wallet, because however tantalizing and often organic the craze is, a 16-ounce bottle of juice tends to cost ...

The Bolt that won't bolt on you

East County beer meets the waterfront in Little Italy

August 21st marked the opening of Little Italy's latest beer-tasting room, as La Mesa–based Bolt Brewery began serving beer at the corner of India and Grape streets, in what used to be the North End ...

iPad your iDessert

I wound up with a pistachio shell, chocolate cake, vanilla cream...

When I hear the words Little Italy and dessert, I think of gelato or tiramisu. After my first visit to iDessert, I don’t know what to think. The high-concept dessert spot is the brainchild of ...

Music Box winding up, Avalon on the horizon

Latest news on the San Diego nightclub scene

After being dark for two-and-a-half years, the Little Italy space formerly known as Anthology has been renamed the Music Box and crews are racing to have the remodeled restaurant/bar/music venue opened in time for the ...

Civico 1845 arrives in Little Italy

Ravioli, lasagna, penne alla vodka, pesto, pizza, eggplant — all vegan

Is Little Italy on the move or what? Latest opening is at the Piazza Basilone (named for San Diego’s Italian-American war hero). It’s in the spot that was Zia’s, on the corner of India and ...

This public house is popping

Wow. Last time I met so many submariners at the same time was at the late, great underwater sailors’ hangout named the Horse and Cow, across from Liberty Station. Tonight, there’s a bunch of them ...

Do they eat hamburgers in Italy?

New food hall imports great taste from Verona

It's safe to say the food hall concept has been embraced in San Diego — at least by investors. East Village saw one open earlier this year with Bottega Americano, while nearby Market Hall promises ...

Getting the lard out of my street food

Farmers' market tamales not an oxymoron

I'm often fascinated by questions of authenticity when it comes to street food. Like, the way some guys will set their jaw and argue against quality in favor of traditionally greasy, cheap and eaten-standing-up snacks. ...

My perfect breakfast, but better

Farmers' market parfait gives yogurt the spotlight

Left to my own devices, my breakfast of choice these days is a blueberry parfait. To some, the mixture of fruit, yogurt, and granola may never constitute a satisfying breakfast. To them I point out ...

Bolt Brewery to strike in Little Italy

New La Mesa sudsmiths find a more central locale they can't pass up

It’s the fastest expansion in the history of the San Diego County craft beer scene. Just two months after opening La Mesa’s first brewery, the ownership of Bolt Brewery has taken possession of a property ...

Gold Rush–era gluttony in Little Italy

Plain Nirvana

“This used to be a brothel upstairs and liquor place down here.”

Harbor Breakfast finds its feet

Little Italy breakfast nook is quite the looker and serves up a tasty sandwich, too

Despite being something of a hot mess in its early days, Harbor Breakfast has gotten its act together. The restaurant gave the appearance of having rushed into opening much later than expected, which barely makes ...

Black hole development in Little Italy

Former Reader building slated for demo

One block of West Date Street, between Columbia and India, was permanently closed to car traffic on December 1st for the groundbreaking of Piazza Famiglia, a European-style pedestrian plaza projected "to become the new 'heart' ...

Sudsy holiday shopping respites

Sudsy holiday shopping respites

December 3 | Sour Mania: Any chance to select from a bevy of tart blondes, Flemish reds, and the like merits the “God bless us, everyone” tagline, but offer that opportunity on a weeknight and ...

Rediscovering the endangered five-dollar sandwich

Grabbing and going through Little Italy.

I've driven by Grab & Go Subs I don't know how many times over the years, driving down Hawthorne into Little Italy, or on my way to the airport. I never once stopped prior to ...

Bring it back to business basics

98 Bottles lacks focus on food, service, and ambiance.

98 Bottles is more than a neighborhood bar. According to the signage it’s a one-stop shop offering “craft beer, fun wine, good eats, entertainment, and a retail bottle shop.” I’ve never considered wine amusing, but ...

Richly concentrated

Third-wave neighborhood spots set to break over the next month.

Several established local roasters have been building out new storefronts this month, giving third-wave coffee drinkers plenty of new neighborhood options going into November. Dark Horse Coffee Roasters is just about set to open a ...

7 for 7 plus Pappy

Starlite celebrates 7 years with 7 days of giving back

It’s no secret that Starlite is one of my major haunts — this remote, hip and chill restaurant in the middle of an industrial strip of India Street is home to my favorite burger, and ...

I never wear the same thing twice

What they wore in Little Italy.

In Little Italy, Lien Nguyen held her fluffy Maltipoo, Kali, close as she made her way through the crowded Saturday morning Mercato on Cedar Street. Nguyen was on her way to brunch with her husband. ...

Taste the bean, not the roast

While a handful of roasters have been at it for years — La Jolla–based Pannikin has been cooking beans since 1968 — most of San Diego’s developing artisanal coffee movement has been spurred by newcomers. ...

It’ll probably involve offal

When I think of my ideal food day in San Diego, it doesn’t involve heavy white linens, maître d’s, or putting on a suit and tie. Maximum dining enjoyment in my laidback hometown comes from ...

Top vittles from a top chef

Little Italy eatery lives up to the hype

Even before its opening, Juniper And Ivy was one of the biggest news stories in the San Diego food scene. Having a winner of Top Chef Masters like Richard Blais as your main chef will ...

Diving into Ironside Fish and Oyster Bar

Exploring the depths of Little Italy's hottest new scene

If you’re looking for somewhere to see and be seen these days, Ironside Fish and Oyster Bar is a sure bet. On my most recent visit, among the endless faces in the bustle I recognized ...

Zappa fest in Little Italy

“As teenagers, Frank Zappa and Lou Curtiss, owner of Folk Arts Rare Records, would scour local bargain bins for eclectic albums that would define their unique musical perspectives,” says Tom Cesarini, executive director at the ...

Liver lovers, heads up! They take you seriously here

Nosh, the new downtown deli, wants us to get serious about liver

"What am I, chopped liver?" This is Jennifer, standing with her hands flung out sideways. Then she relaxes. "Everybody says that, when they see it on the menu." Chopped liver sandwich is part of a ...

Rico suave pork torta

Between Mexican Fiesta and Stone, Ed is in danger.

"Things have been pretty horrible in the Congo for decades. So, their coffee is in this beer.”

Ballast Point successfully tweaks Little Italy menu

Local brewing titan gives us a menu the kitchen can actually deliver on.

Selective and careful tinkering of the menu at this massive tasting room has made the food offerings from the local brewer a better match for the atmosphere and style of the cavernous beer hall. Prices run on the steep side considering the small portions, but the food has been dialed in to the point where (instead of making a poorly thought-out bid for sophistication) it makes the best out of being honest bar snacks, burgers, and sandwiches.

Mmm, great tentacles

Octopus is king at Davanti Enoteca

Davanti Enoteca is not a good place to go if you’re looking for a quick meal. I’m sure if you told the waiter you were in a hurry, they’d accommodate you, but the charms of ...

Jim’s got Jimbo’s number

When Jim Heath adopted the name “Reverend Horton Heat” in the ’80s, he didn’t have high hopes for his particular brand of “rock and roll influenced by mid-century American music, especially rockabilly.” “When you’re in ...

Urban hiking in Maple Canyon

A hidden canyon trail in the heart of the city.

Like much of California’s coast, San Diego’s topography is unique. Mountains in the east give way to plateaus, which in turn give way to labyrinths of canyons that eventually find their way into the ocean. ...

Elephants in the room

“After splitting ways with our old label,” says Hills Like Elephants frontman Sean Davenport, “we were told, even though it was them saying they didn’t want to work with us, that we were ‘in breech ...

Shino Sushi + Kappo is a true sleeper

Fine dining hidden in Little Italy without glitz or glamor

Rumors of Shino Sushi + Kappo have percolated up through the usual channels. People say that chef Robert Nakamura —brother of Hane Sushi’s Roger Nakamura — produces elegant and indulgent sushi, having learned a trick ...

Al fresco brunch at Queenstown Public House

New Zealand-themed restaurant brings variety to Little Italy

On lazy, warm weekend mornings, my man and I skip our usual breakfast at home (Greek honey yogurt, almonds, bananas and blueberries), and venture outside to find a relaxing patio and an energizing crowd of ...

Craft/science

After four EPs and three full-lengths, the Dum Dum Girls, masterminded by Dee Dee Penny (née onetime San Diego resident and Grand Ole Party drummer Kristin Welchez, aka Kristin Gundred), seems poised to go ubiquitous, ...

Meet Social Jack’s Craft Brewing Company

Upcoming Little Italy nanobrewery tribute to fallen friend, beer aficionado

So, this guy walks into a bar (University Heights’ Small Bar to be exact), orders a beer, and promptly has it snatched up by a young woman who takes a sip and correctly identifies its ...

Anthology to reopen

Back-door deal

Clarification from the editor We received a letter on March 19 from Mr. Berkson's law firm stating the following facts: Although our client Howard Berkson did at one time have an interest in India Street ...

New menu, new patio for Ballast Point Little Italy

Tasting room expands menu to include more substantial fare, opens patio to relieve mob mentality

The kitchen at Ballast Point’s Little Italy tasting room unveiled an updated menu last week to coincide with the opening of a monstrous (as-yet-undecorated) patio. It’s not a total replacement of the former menu, but ...

Kick out the jams

The Casbah is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month with a slate of local-centric reunions and all-star jams, and it’s hard to pick just one night worth showcasing. For my money, the January 17 Penetrators ...

San Diego Cellars open in Little Italy

A winery in the heart of the city? That's the idea!

While not wholly unique, the concept behind San Diego Cellars is fun. The novelty lies in putting a fully functional winery, kitchen, and tasting room within the confines of the city, rather than exiling winemaking ...

Win a $25 Gift Card to
The Broken Yolk Cafe

Join our newsletter list

Each newsletter subscription means another chance to win!

Close